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Rhodes takes over as foreign HR king

Kintetsu slugger Tuffy Rhodes smashed a three-run drive for his 47th homer of the season and set a record for the most home runs by a foreign player in Japan with 284 as the Buffaloes beat the Lotte Marines 5-1 at Osaka Dome on Sunday.

News photoGiants infielder Masahiro Kawai gets a lift from his teammates after the final game of his pro career.

Rhodes went one better than Leron Lee, who played for the Lotte Orions from 1977 to 1987 and won the batting title in 1980. Lee hit the 283rd mark in his 1,315th game while Rhodes hit his career 284th in his 1,069th game in Japan.

Ninteen-year-old rookie Kenta Abe tossed five-hit ball over the distance, walking three while striking out eight batters for his second win.

Hawks 20, BlueWave 11

Tadahito Iguchi went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and led Daiei’s 18-hit barrage as the Hawks downed Orix in a nine-homer slugfest at Yahoo BB Stadium.

Orix jumped out to a 6-0 first-inning lead, highlighted by homers by Jose Ortiz and Takeshi Hidaka, but the Hawks sent 12 batters in a seven-run fourth, and added seven more in the fifth.

Fighters 10, Lions 9 (10)

Kazuteru Shimada singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th as Nippon Ham edged Seibu at Seibu Dome.

PL batting leader Michihiro Ogasawara went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and raised his average to .364.

Alex Cabrera homered for the fifth straight game, connecting for his 46th dinger in the fourth.

Kawai calls it a day

Atsuya Furuta had a team-high four RBIs on a pair of two-run doubles as the Yakult Swallows overcame a late scare to beat the Yomiuri Giants 7-6 at Tokyo Dome on Sunday, sending the Giants to their seventh loss in a row.

Roberto Petagine homered in back-to-back at-bats, his 31st and 32nd home runs of the season in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively.

It was the final game for Giants infielder Masahiro Kawai, who announced he will make the evening’s game his last and retire as a player from the Tokyo club, where he spent 21 years for the second-most in club history following Sadaharu Oh.

Kawai, a 1983 fourth-draft pick, batted second in the lineup and singled to center to load the bases with two out in the fifth inning. He was replaced for a pinch runner after connecting for his career 1,182nd hit.

Before the game, the 38-year-old appeared in front of the press in his uniform and announced his decision to call it quits, saying he notified manager Tatsunori Hara on Saturday.

“The day I broke the world mark for sacrifice hits was the best day of my career,” said Kawai, who on Aug. 20 went one better than Eddie Collins in setting a new world record of 512 sacrifice bunts.

Collins played for teams including the Chicago White Sox from 1906 to 1930, at a time when there was no distinction between sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies while Kawai’s record is for bunts only.

Kawai batted .266 with 42 homers and 312 RBIs in 1,709 games. He also has 514 sacrifice hits.

He will remain with the Giants as a coach next season.

Carp 4, BayStars 2

Tomonori Maeda singled home the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh as Hiroshima downed Yokohama at Hiroshima Stadium for its third straight win.

Tom Davey (5-1) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings. Shinji Sasaoka worked the ninth and notched his 100th career save.

Shuichi Murata belted his 20th homer of the year in the fourth, becoming the first player in the CL to hit 20 home runs in his rookie season since Giants manager Tatsunori Hara did in 1981.

Dragons 5, Tigers 0

Lefty Kazuhiro Hiramatsu combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout as Chunichi blanked Hanshin at Nagoya Dome to complete a three-game sweep.

Hiramatsu (5-3) allowed one hit over 5 1/3 innings for the win.

Toritani eyes Tigers

Waseda University infielder Takashi Toritani, one of the hottest prospects for this fall’s pro baseball draft, is hoping to join the Hanshin Tigers, baseball sources said Saturday.

Toritani, 22, said he will make clear his intentions to join the club after the conclusion of this fall’s Tokyo Big Six University league championships.

Betts off roster

Yakult Swallows infielder Todd Betts injured his left kneecap and was removed from the active roster on Sunday, baseball officials said.

He will need three weeks to recover.